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Godhra carnage: bid to hide truth alleged

Manas Dasgupta

GANDHINAGAR: Not once, but repeated attempts were made to dissuade the Gujarat Additional Director-General of Police, R. B. Sreekumar, from ``revealing the truth'' about the Godhra train carnage and the post-Godhra communal riots before the G. T. Nanavati and K. G. Shah Judicial Inquiry Commission.

In his third affidavit filed before the Commission on Wednesday, Mr. Sreekumar revealed that even before the Home Secretary, G. C. Murmu, ``tutoring'' him to follow the political line of Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the train carnage by sticking to the ``pre-planned conspiracy'' theory like some other senior officers, another Home Department official had advised him ``not to tell the truth.''

Mr. Sreekumar, who has created a storm in the administration by his allegations against the Chief Minister and some other senior Government and police officials in a petition filed before the Central Administrative Tribunal, produced the transcription of an audio tape revealing what the Under Secretary in the Home Department, Dinesh Kapadia, advised him on August 21 last, 10 days before he was to appear before the Nanavati-Shah commission for cross-examination on his original affidavit filed in 2002.

Mr. Kapadia had walked into Mr. Sreekumar's office and advised him to reply all the inconvenient questions with a firm ``I don't know'' or give only convenient answers in tune with the Modi Government's political line. On Mr. Sreekumar's reply that he was ``under oath of the Constitution'' and could not tell lies to a judicial body appointed to bring out the truth, Mr. Kapadia was quoted as saying that ``no purpose will be served by telling the truth to the Commission. As it is, its recommendations will not be accepted by the government,'' the affidavit said.

Mr. Kapadia also went to the extent of describing the commission as a mere ``paper tiger'' as most commissions were indicating the kind of importance the State Government was attaching to the outcome of the inquiry by the commission appointed by it in April 2002.

After Mr. Kapadia failed to persuade Mr. Sreekumar to follow the Government line, he was summoned by the Secretary (Law and Order), G. C. Murmu, a 1986 batch IAS officer compared to his being a 1971 IPS officer, in his office to ''tutor'' him. The government pleader before the commission, Arvind Pandya, was also present. Mr. Pandya was told to put to him the possible questions that could come from the advocate for the riot victims, Mukul Sinha, and Mr. Murmu told Mr. Sreekumar what answers he was required to give.

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